Public hygiene

We get celebrities to give their take on a current issue each week and lend their perspective to a much-discussed topic.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporate has reportedly passed a resolution that will prohibit shops and restaurants from displaying meat in the open. The leader of the house, Shikha Ray denied that it was a move to appease vegetarians, but instead said it was a matter of hygiene. However, the resolution was moved by Raj Dutt and supported by Nandini Sharma, to “maintain hygiene and to respect people’s sentiments since not everyone eats non-vegetarian food.”

We talk to social thinkers and ask them if this is a welcome move, or one that toes the line of ‘food policing’. Should display of vegetarian fare outside hotels also fall under this gamut?

‘Many feel decidedly queasy when we see dead animals being showcased as food products’
Smita Dugar, Celebrity Chef

I feel it is a move much appreciated. Our non-vegetarian friends should be very happy because they will be getting non-contaminated, hygienic food. Many meat eating foodies also do not find their appetite stimulated by cuts of meat hanging all around. As for us vegetarians, all we can say is thank you! No offence to anyone, but many feel decidedly queasy when they see dead animals being showcased as food products. As for “food policing”, feel free to eat what you want, to each its own. There is no need for display. Vegetarian food again, for reasons of hygiene should not be displayed.

‘Don’t understand the need of displaying meat outside shops’
Anil Dharker, Columnist and Social Thinker

I am a non-vegetarian myself, but I don’t like to see raw meat just lying around. It isn’t a sight for me. And that is the case with many other non-vegetarians. This move couldn’t be better implemented because hygeine is an important aspect. Frankly, I don’t understand the need of displaying meat outside shops. It serves as an offence to many people both vegetarian and non-vegetarians.

‘This move is nothing but food politics at work’
Gautam Krishnakutty, Chef

In my opinion, this move is nothing but food politics at work and definitely appeasement of a particular vote bank. If the restaurant has taken all precautions of hygiene in terms of refrigeration and cleanliness as per the law of the land at the point of display, then on what basis can this proposed resolution be applied other than to appease the perceived sentiments of a particular group who might be offended by the mere sight of meat?

I am all for instituting strict rules of hygiene in the restaurant industry as I feel it is sorely lacking, and many restaurants flout rules and regulations, detrimental to their customers, and create a public health hazard. They must be taken to task for any such transgressions. But it is very hard to see the connection between this resolution and an overall concern for hygiene and public safety. The only way I can see this is as an attempt to directly appease a particular section of society at the commercial expense of others. I am very against this resolution and I hope it is defeated.

‘The masterminds of this theory want to divide people based on food habits’
J. Devika, Social Critic

They are creating unnecessary issues by resorting to these measures. I believe that there are very few vegetarians in India who cringe at the sight of meat. The masterminds of this theory want to divide people based on food habits; this is how fascism deepens its roots. I wonder how South Delhi hoteliers agreed to such a suicidal step which is bound to affect their business. Shouldn’t they be fighting the move? In fact, they should fight and defeat this move of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. South Delhi is an affluent area and the decision against displaying a particular food product is clearly a Hindutva conspiracy. Undoubtedly, such a move should be busted. A good number of Hindus consume non-vegetarian dishes in our land. If they are trying to force vegetarianism on people, it will definitely backfire.

‘It is just like how a vegetarian chooses his/her vegetables in the market’
Shipra Chenji, Culinary Expert

I am a vegetarian myself. When it comes to hygiene and sanitation I think, as long as the hotels and market shops maintain I think it should be fine. If there are flies and blood on the meat, it is disturbing indeed even for a non-vegetarian. The quality and standards of the meat are important. But displaying them is not wrong. It is just like how a vegetarian chooses his/her veggies in the market. The vegetables are displayed and the customers get to choose what products they want. If the vegetarians feel uncomfortable, there can be area separation and meat can be kept separately in different streets where the vegetarians can choose not to go. But a display of raw materials like meat, help the cook get inspired by the way of cooking and the parts of the animal to cook.

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